I'm about to change gears and dig into some analysis of the Pittsburgh Steelers match up against the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV, but let's get to at least one more player's press conference from the second day of Super Bowl week down in Dallas. Next up is Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall, the quite star of the squad that had perhaps his best game as a professional in Pittsburgh's AFC Championship Game win over the New York Jets. In his session, Mendenhall fielded questions about his football idols growing up near Chicago, the Packers' relatively vulnerable rush defense, the match up between two old historic franchises, his training regiment that includes dancing, and other topics. Let's see what the third-year back out of Illinois had to say for himself.
Other Monday/Tuesday Press Conference Transcriptions:
- Brett Keisel (on SB Nation Pittsburgh)
- James Farrior (on SB Nation Pittsburgh)
- Mike Tomlin (on BTSC)
- Hines Ward (on SB Nation Pittsburgh)
- LaMarr Woodley (on BTSC)
- Dom Capers (on SB Nation Pittsburgh)
- Aaron Rodgers (on SB Nation Pittsburgh)
- Mike McCarthy (on BTSC)
QUOTES FROM PITTSBURGH STEELERS MEDIA DAY
RB Rashard Mendenhall
(On who he compared himself to when he was young) "Someone I compared to when I was younger was Walter Payton. He was before my time, but just in Chicago, you see film on him and see the way he worked. It's not an accident that he's one of the greatest players."
(On if he was hoping to play the Bears in the Super Bowl since he's from the Chicago area) "You know, I really thought that would have been cool. With Chicago being my hometown, for us to be playing Chicago and seeing the city excited, I think that would have been cool."
(On Green Bay's struggles against the run)
"On paper it is, but the game's not played on paper, it's played in the stadium. They have a tough front seven, so we're going to have to get bodies on bodies at the line of scrimmage. If we don't do that, then that doesn't mean anything."
(On if his eyes light up with the opportunity to run against Green Bay's defense) "No, not at all, because you don't know what's going to happen until game time. You've got to prepare, you've got to work, you've got to make it work. At the same time, sometimes your scheme may not fit in with somebody else's defense. So on paper, rankings and all of that don't mean as much as what actually happens."
(On what it means for him to be the team's feature back during a Super Bowl run) "It's a big difference to be out there and to be counted on in the Super Bowl. It's the Super Bowl, but it's no different than it's been all year. With these veterans, guys that have been here before, we're going to prepare for this game like we've prepared all year, from the Divisional Playoff game to the AFC Championship to now being in the Super Bowl."
(On if he feels like he's at top performance right away in a game) "No, not at all. I feel like as the game goes on, just with the intensity of the game, throughout the course of the game, that's where the bigger plays happen. You're ready from the beginning of the game, but it takes time to figure out a defense to get the looks that you want."
(On if he's compared himself to Cowboys RB Felix Jones, who was drafted before him) "Not at all. I'm going to my second Super Bowl. I'm glad that that happened."
(On playing in a Super Bowl with two storied franchises) "I think it's great for the fans of the game and even for the tone of this game and the personality of both teams to be at a Super Bowl. I think it's very fitting."
(On if he sees similarities between the two teams and cities) "I think so, both of them being pretty small cities where the fans travel well, the fans are really into it. I think it's great."
(On the performance of the offensive line) "Those guys have done a great job. Flo (Flozell Adams), it's great for him to be here. At this stage, to have played for 12, 13 years and never getting to a Super Bowl, to be able to do that is great for him. But the offensive line has done a great job all year. A lot of those guys went down and had to play different positions. But the offensive line coach, Sean Kugler, he's just done a great job of getting those guys on the same page, no matter who's in."
(On how many family members will be at the Super Bowl) "Not too much. There's only a few people you really get close to, because it can get hectic."
(On the importance of the running game in the Super Bowl) "It's big in every game to get the run game established early. It's demoralizing to the defense and at the same time, it sets the tone and it kind of opens things up for the passing game, controlling the clock, controlling the line of scrimmage, all those things that are key to winning."
(On his training regimen that includes dancing) "I'm really big into cross training and dancing. That was my first year, when I got hurt and went on the (injured reserve). I wanted to do something to kind of move around, but wasn't too intense. It was something I enjoyed doing, and two, to step outside football.